Weddings Ain.t For Weenies

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This post is the second installment of a series of posts that tell the story of my seven year marriage.  Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed living it…

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We got married too young. My parents knew it.  His parents knew it.  I knew it.  Chris knew it.  Everyone knew it.  At our wedding reception, our first dance was to Elvis Presley’s Fools Rush In.  “Wise men say, only fools rush in, but I can’t help falling in love with you.”  That was us.  Fools.  Fools completely in love with each other.  Fools who had grown up together – who were still growing up together.  Fools who were too foolish to know that we didn’t know the first thing about being married.  But fools who couldn’t take another step forward in life without having the other fool by their side.  That was us.  Just a couple of fools.

Though it surprises some people that Chris and I are still happily married seven years later (pools by our high school friends had us clocking out at two years…) the miracle to me is not that we are still married, but that we ever made it to the alter to begin with.  Chris was what you would call a…let’s see…how can I put this delicately?  He was a man-whore.  Yes, a high-school aged, hormone crazed, charming the pants literally right off of girls, man whore.   And I was in student government, youth ambassador at my church, and part of an abstinence education program in the public school systems.  We were polar opposites from the very beginning, though I am happy to report that like a good barrel of wine, our flavors have married together over the years and we seem to be a nice, robust blend now.  But back then, we were a whirlwind of drama that would make any teenage vampire/werewolf/wizard novel of today look like Sweet Valley High.

Even at the age of fifteen, I saw something in Chris.  I saw that he went home for dinner with his Dad and sister every single night, no matter what was going on and that told me that he, like me, put family first.  I saw him spend summers working with middle school kids at camps and that told me that he, like me, made giving back a priority.  I saw him skipping classes but only so that he could spend more time building theater sets (which he would later do professionally for Broadway) and that told me that he, like me, was driven and focused.  Even though Chris was a man whore whose high school parties were infamous for underage drinking and…everything that goes along with underage drinking…we actually had a lot in common.  And we had the things in common that counted.

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And so, I waited.  I waited for Chris to grow up.  And when he made mistake after countless mistake, I still waited because I knew that mistakes were just part of his growing up process and I could see that he truly cared enough to learn from those mistakes.  And because I waited for him, he fell in love with me not because of what I brought to his life, but because I saw the value of what he brought to mine.  I think that was my first lesson in love.  It’s not about what one person does for the other person, it is about what you can do together for each other.

So, with that in mind, we graduated from high school with the scars of adolescent heartbreak on our sleeves and we headed off to separate colleges, agreeing to stay together until one of us found someone else.  No big promises.  Just the love of our high school sweetheart as the baseline for any other relationship to surpass.  And over the four years we were in school, nothing ever surpassed what Chris and I had.  We spent those years traveling back and forth to see each other every couple weekends.  We sent love notes and spent God knows how much money on cell phone bills.

Our junior year of college, Chris and I took a Christmas vacation, just the two of us, to New York. Neither of us had ever been to New York before.  I look back now at pictures from the two of us on that trip and we look like such babies.  Like we had to take cabs everywhere because we may not actually be old enough to drive ourselves.  That young.  But isn’t that what they say?  New York is for young lovers?

No?  They don’t say that?

Well, they should.

We spent a week exploring the Big Apple like the two wide-eyed small town tourists that we were. On our last night in New York, Chris and I went to see The Rockettes in Radio City Hall.  Classic New York.  I was in love that night.  In love with the lights of the city.  In love with the sound of the Salvation Army bells ringing on the sidewalks.  In love with the dancers in their soldier costumes.  And in love with the boy who was sitting next to me.  All was right with the world.

Chris would later tell me that the platinum band in his pocket set off the metal detectors as he entered Radio City with me that night.  When the security guard patted him down and found the little red box tucked into his jacket pocket, he patted him on the back, gave him a wink and a big smile, and said, “Enjoy your evening, Sir.”

After the show, Chris and I walked down to Rockefeller Center and Chris asked if I wanted to ice skate.  I squealed as we tied on our ice skates and took to the ice.  As we skated hand-in-hand, Chris talked about what a great time he had had on our trip.  He talked about what fun experiences and adventures we had had so far together, about fun things we’d done and crazy stories that build up only when you’ve been together since you were children.  And then he stopped skating and turned to face me on the ice.  Right there in under the lights of the enormous Christmas tree, he got down on one knee.

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“The life that we’ve already shared together isn’t enough for me.  I need more than that,” he said, pulling the ring box out of his jacket and holding the most beautiful diamond solitaire out to me.  “Will you marry me?”

I said yes and jumped into his arms, just as the crowds of tourists looking down from above started cheering for us.  It was, and still is, the most magical moment of my entire life.

The wedding would be over a year later on June 4, 2005.  The doors of the church opened and there at the end of that long aisle, stood my groom.  The love of my young life.  And I remember thinking how fitting it was to walk down the aisle of a church where I had grown up and into the arms of the man that I had grown up with.  He looked handsome.  And terrified.  And incredibly happy.  And as I walked down that aisle, we never took our eyes off of each other.

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36 Thoughts to “Weddings Ain.t For Weenies”

  1. My husband and I got married 9 years ago on July 12, 2003. We were 22 years old. I had just finished college. He was still finishing college. I suppose by all accounts were also too young, but nine years, one cat, two dogs, and one kid later we’re still here. Still together. And not regretting it one bit. This post made me cry, but for all the right reasons.

  2. You have the cutest engagement story! And I love that you have a picture of it happening 🙂 I was a young bride too (22), and we just celebrated our 10th anniversary in June. I always felt that we would make it because we continued to grow so much in our relationship. Neither of us had to put our goals on hold, and we learned to achieve them together.

  3. Beautiful! This one gave me goosebumps. We got engaged in NYC too — it’s a magical place!!

  4. I love getting these flashes of your life back then! My husband and I are just starting out (married 1 year, got married at 24/25) and just moved away from our family and friends just like you guys did, so it’s nice to see we’re not alone in this journey!

  5. I know your wedding was many moons ago but do you think you could write about wedding planning? Like your budget at such a young age (I hope your parents helped). How you picked dresses, decor, bridesmaid dresses and if you had a theme? I’m in the middle of planning my wedding so I would love to hear about how that all went down!

  6. Rheannon Walls

    That is the most beautiful story. Made me cry!!! That is the most romantic proposal. You two really show me how HEALTHY relationships should be. What a wonderful example your kids are going to have when they’re dating.

  7. Andie

    Oh man. I’m 7 months pregnant and I don’t know if it’s that or a mixture of your writing and hormones but that made me cry. Your story reminds me of my husband and I. We met in high school as well and married just last year. Although we didn’t get married as young as you guys did I always knew he was the one 🙂 Damn, why isn’t this a book??

  8. Jennifer

    I love these stories! Keep them coming, please!!

  9. Kat

    I am IN LOVE with these posts.

    On a more personal level, and I thought that we were young and foolish to get married at 23/24! 😉 you guys sure do beat us. Happy 7 years of marriage and here’s to another 90.

    ps- our friends were better 1 year for us. So far we’ve won 😉

  10. I love reading about people who got married young…and stayed married. I was 20 and my husband was 23 when we got married. That was almost 8 years ago. At the time, I didn’t think I was too young to get married, but now I can’t believe people didn’t object to it! But…nearly 8 years later, we’re still going strong.

  11. Also in the high-school-sweetheart-married-young boat and so grateful for it. When we got married, our friends said no way they could do what we were doing, but they knew we could. Almost three years later, we are still falling in love with each other (with a whole lot of work and understanding going into that!).

  12. Sara M

    Great post. But “man whore”…had me almost fall out of my chair! Trying not to laugh too hard since I’m at work!!

  13. Meghan

    While I am also loving these posts, I think you need to stop them and try again on the book……save them for a book, they would make a wonderful one!!!!!

  14. Suzanne

    I want to buy a copy of the draft! Loving these stories 🙂

    Funny….I was in NYC, my very first time, my Junior year of FSU (2003) at Christmastime as well!

  15. Carmen

    What a beautiful story! I LOVE the part about the metal detector. Every good engagement story has some hitch the bride later finds out about!

  16. Nancy

    Your writing style is so amazing! I am feeling every moment of this right along with you guys! If we can’t read the manuscript, please keep the excerpts coming. I was having an awful day in rainy NYC, but this just turned it around!

  17. Trish D

    We were also way too young to be married…everyone said it wouldn’t last and there were times that I had my doubts!…but, here we are 28 years later and still together!

  18. I just wanted to say that paragraph 4 is my husband and I to a T! Even down to the name ‘Chris.’ I fell in love with my husband at age 15 and we managed to navigate growing up and growing together and just got married 5 months ago at 21 & 23. I always love hearing the love stories of other people who made it against the odds.

  19. Clair F

    Ah, chills! I got chills so many times!! Beautiful story. I too, will be getting married young, at 22. My fiance will be 32. It is the perfect timing for us! I love your blog 🙂

  20. Nikki

    I had to try so hard not to cry since I’m at work! Let me tell you, it was tough stuff. This is just such an amazing story. When my Husband proposed, he also had a little hiccup when he couldn’t find the ring he had secretly packed in our luggage- but now it’s something I can’t help think about and smile. So fun! I can’t wait to read more!

  21. Lindsey

    I don’t know how you didn’t get published – I would buy the book!! Loved this post!

  22. Goodness I love your wedding dress. I hope my girls choose something similar. Strapless is SO overdone!

  23. Dessi

    Love this post! Like you (and many readers apparently) I married young (age 21). Three years later many people still think we are too young.. but we get that many more memories as a couple because of our decision 🙂 I really love that Chris set off the metal detectors…I bet he was sweating bullets!

  24. Jamie

    you just stop it katie. stop making us read these amazing words that makes out hearts fill with happy! okay, who am i kidding? we are begging for more!

  25. Nicole

    We got engaged at the very same ice rink in New York, such a romantic place to get engaged. It’s so wonderful that you have a picture to commemorate that moment. That was my one regret about my husband’s proposal, there were no pictures of that moment. After I accepted his proposal, we had an older gentleman take our picture, but something happened and when I downloaded our pictures from the trip, that one picture was not there. That was quite the disappointment to someone whose hobby is scrapbooking. Still despite the disappointment of the missing picture, it is a wonderful, romantic moment that I will never forget. I love your engagement story and am looking forward to more of your stories!

  26. Erin R.

    I feel like I should know this, but who took the picture of Chris proposing?

  27. Elise

    This is a sweet post, Katie, but what blew my mind was how similar our relationship timelines are (even if you and Chris have a few years on my husband and I)! I’ve followed your blog since well before the move back to Florida, but I guess I never put the pieces together. Like you two, my husband and I started dating in high school, got engaged our junior year of college, and got married a year later on – I kid you not – June 4 (2011). We then packed up, moved across the country, and started grad school that fall! Uncanny, no? To make it even stranger, we came very close to moving to CT, so my husband could go to Yale, but we ultimately chose programs elsewhere on the east coast.

  28. Andrea

    I love stories like this! My husband and I will be celebrating our 4 year anniversary tomorrow 🙂

  29. Those publishers were crazy to pass on this- I LOVE THESE POSTS!!!! Never, ever quit telling your story

  30. I’m wondering the same thing as Erin R…..how do you have a picture of him proposing???? That’s awesome!

  31. I’m wondering the same thing as Erin R…..how do you have a picture of him proposing???? That’s awesome!

  32. jessa r.

    adore these posts – thanks for sharing them. i love anticipating reading more!

  33. I’m super late because I’ve been on a cruise for the last 8 days, but OH MY, this brought tears to my eyes. I love a good love story. 🙂

  34. Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner

    What a beautiful story Katie! It’s like a fairy tale 🙂

  35. C

    I love how honest and open you are on this blog generally, and I love that you take it up a notch on these book excerpts! If you really feel it can’t get published, have you thought about self-publishing an e-book and selling it on your blog? I would buy!

    On another note, this post hit home for me, as my boyfriend is a former man-whore (before I knew him… don’t know if it’s worse to have had to witness it in real time like you, or to hear about it in a million gross stories from our mutual friends). He is a wonderful guy (now) and has been very commitment minded towards me since I first met him, but his past terrifies me. I have a deep fear of infidelity that borders on phobia so in some ways, the BF’s background is the worst possible mix with my pre-existing trust issues. We also have fights (often over this issue) that make me question if we are normal or acting the way we should be. How much do normal couples fight and how intensely? I have a million questions and no role models with solid marriages to ask! So I need your book!!!! 🙂

  36. […] of my favorite posts by Katie at Marriage Confessions is this. She’s going through a difficult time right now and also has some excellent posts on grief […]

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